Follow the Thread

a textile & costume history blog from the Design Center at Thomas Jefferson University

Holiday Hankies

12.21.2021

Border print hankie (with digitally added message), hand rolled in the Philippines, mid-20th century, T&CC 1996.7.3

∼ by Ann Wilson

As we close out another year, we’d like to share some holiday nostalgia from our collection of handkerchiefs. These hankies were donated by Pamela Moses, who, along with her daughter Mary Beth Handler, collected hundreds of handkerchiefs over several decades. The hankies are still adhered to the scrapbooks these women compiled.

The oldest of the hankies is the blue one pictured below dated Christmas 1940. This handkerchief is pretty charming, as it seems to have been a customized present for Ms. Moses from a friend named Esther (per the inscription “To Pam from Esther B”).

The red hankie inscribed “Meet Me at the Eagle” depicts the central court and pipe organ at Wanamakers Department Store (now Macy’s). This hankie seemed appropriate for the holidays, as the Christmas Light Show, backed by music from the famous Wanamaker Organ, has been a Philadelphia tradition since 1956. This object is extra special for its local connection, but also because it was designed by the great Tammis Keefe.

Sharing these treasures with you is our way of wishing you a Joyous Holiday Season. We’ll see you in 2022 with more stories from the Textile & Costume Collection.


Special Collections Technician, Textile & Costume Collection, Thomas Jefferson University

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